Skylar Fletcher is a proud Harris Academy Bulldog! She has everything she’s ever wanted: a perfect boyfriend, great friends, and her dream college waiting for her in the fall. But nothing lasts forever. Skylar's world shatters when her mom decides it is time to move and drags Skylar, kicking and screaming, into Bobcat territory.
At Delmont High School, home of the Bobcats, Skylar has no friends and is often bullied. To make matters worse, her home life sucks thanks to all-star quarterback Caleb Morgan, nephew of her mom's live-in boyfriend.
At first Skylar and Caleb want nothing to do with one another. But they soon discover they're not that different after all--and each is harboring a secret attraction to the other. But can a Bulldog and a Bobcat ever really be more than friends? And are Skylar and Caleb willing to risk everything to find out? Rival Love is a debut young adult contemporary romance from Natalie Decker.
The summary of Rival Love makes it sound like every other YA novel out there - so many authors try a modern twist on the Romeo and Juliet story, that it makes it hard to enjoy any of those stories anymore.
So if you’re looking for an original story, this book is not for you. I can predict that 90% of you already know how this book is going to end from reading the summary (do let me know your guesses in the comments - maybe I’m wrong about this!).
But like I said before, originality in a book is only required for some people. I need some very original books every now and then, but sometimes, when I’m having a wonderful lazy day, I can really enjoy a predictable book. I don’t want to be on the edge of my seat, I don’t want my brain to work in overtime. I want to be sucked into another world and enjoy the comfort of knowing how it will work out.
And for this, Rival Love was perfect. Skylar Fletcher is the book version of Hannah from Pretty Little Liars. The moment I started reading, I heard her voice in my head. And then her “co-star” turned out to be someone named Caleb and I couldn’t resist using the two characters from the show for my reading.
This worked perfectly though. Skylar is crazy beautiful, sassy, spontaneous and deep down pretty insecure about herself. Caleb acts all cool and self-confident, but the boy has some serious issues. The chapters alternate between the point of view of Skylar and Caleb and the author did a great job of giving both characters very distinctive narrative voices. I never got confused about who was talking.
The issues, that both Skylar and Caleb have, meant that there was a bit too much back and forth for my liking. I understand the difficulties, but come oooon. At some point, just get together or not. Just decide. They were more wishy-washy than Madoc and Fallon in Rival (very similar titles, but not too similar plots actually). I think my impatience with this is also due to the fact that I don’t really get the high school rivalry. I understand it, but for it to be so bad that you get beat up everyday and actually won’t like someone just because of the school they come from? I guess I’m too European for that.
Besides that, I also didn’t like the ending at all. I’m not going to spoil it for anyone, but it’s way too open. What does it mean? Is there going to be a sequel? Since I actually did some research this time, it seems like there isn’t going to be. So then the ending was way too rushed. Everything is “tied together” in the last twenty pages. But nothing is really solved or decided. Instead of the crazy “WOW” feeling I had with the unexpected We Were Liars ending, this ending just leave me feeling “What? Is my ebook version not the complete version?”.But maybe that’s the unexpected in the book that readers will appreciate. It just didn’t do it for me.
I’ll give this book 3.5 out of 5 stars. It was a good easy read with very likeable main characters. But there were elements that rubbed me the wrong way. I wish more time was spend on the ending and less time on the unnecessary back and forth between Skylar and Caleb.